Q: What inspired you to write the song and what are your expectations as how your song will help make the American people more aware of the Cuban Five case?

NG: I got to know about Fernando some years ago when his mother Magaly and his wife Rosa came and spoke to our group about the case. I hadn’t known about him before. There has been really no mention of the Five in the USA by comparison to other places around the world; I learned how important these five men were in Cuba. So I began writing letters to Fernando, he was in Wisconsin for about five years I suppose, before he was moved to Indiana; and so we were pleased to get to know his family and in the letters we exchanged, you know, just getting to know one person to another, from one country to another. Through these letters, you know I understood what some of his experiences were in prison and that inspired me after all this time to write this song. I’m a musician and I write songs and perform locally, and my hope for this song is that we will spread the word about The Five. The song is fairly simple and I hope that other people could also learn the song, play it and sing it, wherever we are holding functions about The Five. The title of the song is FREE THE FIVE.

Q: Could you elaborate on the lyrics of the song, and its message?

NB: It begins like a slow conversation waiting on a letter from jail. My experience with Fernando is that we’ve only spoken once or twice in person on the phone; we had exchanged letters once a week. It reminded me of a slow conversation, because he would say something in a letter, then I would say something back and it would take sometimes a couple of weeks or more to discuss, you know, one point. And that slowness and what I felt very deeply is that in connection with The Five in our prisons was the suffering of their families also going through; I have children of my own, and I have thought very strongly about some of the families having trouble, children having trouble getting visas to visit their fathers in our prisons, and it just makes no sense that this is going on for so long. Our legal system is so slow, I am hoping our legal system is just, but in this case it seems very unjust. So those feelings are put into the song, the chorus is Free the Five; It’s time to let them go, Free the Five.

Free the Five

A slow conversation, depending on the mail A slow conversation, waiting on a letter from jail A strong determination to keep the spirits high While family relations & years are slipping by.

Free the Five Free the Five Time to let ’em go Free the Five

Pretending not to notice, it’s easy to walk by. But in your heart you know that truth is better than a lie. Injustice is injustice - anywhere you go. Here’s one in your own backyard, it’s time for you to know.

Free the Five Free the Five Time to let ’em go Free the Five

Hot & cold, dark prison cells, steel doors closed up tight, Harsh words & harsh treatment, a long and lonely night Silence can be agony, or silence can be fine When distant loved-ones’ images gently come to mind.

On a long sweeping horizon covered up with snow, A dormant, winter tree stands alone. Alone against the freezing wind, Waiting for spring to begin for another chance, for another chance, to grow.

Free the Five Free the Five Time to let ’em go Free the Five

A slow conversation depending on the mail A slow conversation waiting on a letter from jail A strong determination to keep the spirits high While family relations & years are slipping by

Free the Five Free the Five Free the Five Free the Five

Time to let ’em go years are slipping by Free the Five Free the Five

Q: Do you have any plans to present the song in any upcoming local concert?

NG: I have some upcoming concerts of my own here in Wisconsin, where I will present it and play it, and I’d love for our band to get to Cuba someday. We will play it everywhere we go, we really just released it this week; it was just recorded and I am hoping to get it on our radio stations and our programming and wherever were are talking about The Five.

Q: As to your most recent contacts with Fernando, how would describe his morale and his situation?

NG: I think he is doing very well; that is what I know of his current situation; he has some work in the prison system, I think he is working at the fitness club, I heard some of our friends here who spoke with Rosa on the phone say that “he is doing alright, he’s gained weight”. You know he has always had a strong spirit; I’ve always been amazed that he can keep such a positive view; he keeps busy reading, I often try to send him books, he likes more Spanish books of course; and he especially is so fluent in English. We sent him letters, though the mail system in Indiana tends to be very slow, and what he receives does not come through every week, but I hear he is in good spirit right now.

Fernando Gonzalez, Ramon Labañino, Rene Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernandez were given unfairly long sentences by a biased US court in Miami. The Cuban Five had collected information on Florida-based ultra-right organizations that have committed terrorist actions against the Cuban people for over 40 years.

Nelson Graham

Cuban Agency News
La Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) es una división de la Agencia de Información Nacional (AIN) de Cuba fundada el 21 de mayo de 1974.

Cuban News Agency